Edward Connette, EsquireEdward G. ("Woody") Connette has been a partner with the law firm of Essex Richards, PA in Charlotte, North Carolina. www.EssexRichards.com He attended Davidson College (1974), followed by UNC Law School (1977). His practice emphasizes plaintiffs' ERISA, complex personal injury and mental health litigation.
In 1989, Connette began representing women in ERISA cases against insurance carriers who had been denied coverage for treatment of their breast, ovarian and other cancers. From those beginnings, his practice has expanded to include all forms of health and disability insurance coverage denials. Today, he is well known for his expertise in litigating plaintiffs' ERISA benefit claims. He has given presentations on ERISA for ATLA, the North Carolina Bar Association, the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, N.C. Association of Women Attorneys, and the Mecklenburg County Bar.
Connette also has a longstanding interest in Constitutional rights and related federal litigation. The weirder the better. Typical of his work is Thomas S. v. Morrow ("Thomas S. I"), 601 F. Supp. 1055 (W.D.N.C. 1984), affirmed 781 F. 2d 367 (4th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1124 (1986); and Thomas S. v. Morrow ("Thomas S. II"), 699 F. Supp. 1178 (W.D.N.C. 1988), (4th Cir. 1990), cert denied 498 U.S. 951 (1990). More recently, he has been serving as co-counsel in two class actions challenging the conditions under which developmentally disabled children and adults have been confined at state institutions, People First of Tennessee v. Arlington Developmental Center, (W.D. Tenn.) and People First v. Clover Bottom Developmental Center, et al. (M.D. Tenn.). As a result of these cases, the state of Tennessee is revamping its system of delivering services to its developmentally disabled citizens and is building a statewide network of community-based residential and habilitation programs. The public interest and pro bono work of Connette and his law firm have been recognized by the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, the North Carolina Bar Association, the Mecklenburg County Bar, and various community organizations.
Connette's personal interests include surfing, mountain climbing and running. He has climbed Mount McKinley and Mt. Rainier. He has surfed in Hawaii, Australia, Fiji, Costa Rica, Barbados, and the Bahamas, but his home beach is Wrightsville Beach, NC. Fifteen pounds ago, in 1991, he completed the Ironman World Triathlon in Hawaii. Connette is married to Jane Harper, a state court judge.